In the midst of darkness, light persists. – Mahatma Gandhi
Growing up in Montréal, Diwali always lacked the fanfare of Diwali celebrations taking place in India or elsewhere around the world. But still, we celebrated by lighting small clay lamps around the house and, of course, with homemade sweets. Today’s recipe is for my not-so-sweet nan khatai. Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism. It “spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair” [Wikipedia]. The main festival night of Diwali coincides with the New Moon night of the month, Kartika, of the Hindu calendar. In the Gujarati calendar, it also falls on the last day of the year, with the next day being the start of a new year. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Nan Khatai, the Indian Shortbread
- 70 g ghee, softened
- 65 g white sugar
- 75 g white whole wheat flour
- 65 g chickpea flour (besan)
- 15 g semolina (sooji), fine
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp finely crushed cardamom
- 52-55 g milk, plus extra for brushing onto the cookies
- about 10-12 almonds, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix ghee and sugar and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, chickpea flour, semolina, baking powder and cardamom
- Add the dry mixture to the ghee-sugar mixture, mix to combine.
- Add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time and mix with your hands until a soft dough is formed. Use only as much as required to make a soft dough that does not crumble apart.
- Divide into 24 portions. Roll each between your palms into a ball, place on a cookie sheet and slightly flatten.
- Brush each cookie with milk and sprinkle with almonds.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack.